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Reducing Risk in Your Custom Cable Assembly - Q&A

Epec Engineered Technologies
Written by Epec Engineered Technologies
Posted on December 1, 2020 at 9:18 AM

At the conclusion of our webinar, Reducing Risk in Your Custom Cable Assembly - we had several questions submitted to our presenter, Steven J. Goodman, User Interface & Cable Assembly Product Manager at Epec. We have compiled these questions into a readable format on our blog.

Q&A From Our Live Cable Assembly Webinar

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Question: Your slide shows 5 weeks for USB cable. We get these in a week or two online. How are yours different?

Answer: This is in reference to the micro USB case study number 1 that we showed here. And that 5-week timeline is a complete development for a custom part. That includes working with the customer to create the specification, allow them to review the spec and approve it, sourcing all of the components that are required, and actually building the product. I think the reality here is in order to meet a 1- or 2-week timeline that these other guys are supporting, these cables are obviously either in stock or some kind of off the shelf cable. So, the difference between Epec and these other online suppliers mentioned here would be ours are purely custom. Ours are purely built to print to the customer's specification to the purchase order. We do not stock cables, which is in my opinion the only way that we'd be able to meet that one week or so turnaround time.

Question: If you're manufacturing overseas does your lead time include transit time?

Answer: That's a great question. Yes, it does. The majority of our manufacturing is in Southeast Asia, and we consolidate and ship daily out of Hong Kong. That is one of the reasons how and why we're able to develop and manage these projects in such an expedited timeline. We have daily shipments out of Hong Kong to our facility in New Bedford, Mass. So, yes, our lead time does include transit time; the quoted lead time that we provide you is from the receipt of order until delivery.

Question: Can you talk about the best way to tolerance prints?

Answer: There are a lot of ways to tolerance cable drawings. I think generally the recommendation we give is to follow IPC 620, which has a very robust tolerancing scheme. When in doubt, we advise customers at plus or minus 10% the overall length of the cable is an appropriate tolerance. Obviously, if you have 120-foot cable, I don't think that you'd need plus or minus 12 feet of tolerance on that. So that would be something that could be sured up a little bit, but overall, we refer people to IPC 620 and advise about plus or minus 10% on the overall length. If your application has a critical dimension or a critical tolerance, these are things that we want to know and discuss back at the quote stage and even worst case during that design freeze point.

Question: Can you quote from a spec?

Answer: Yes. We need to know what a spec is in your context here, but generally speaking, a spec or a specification, we'd interpret that as some documentation that defines the part. And in order to quote that, we'd obviously need to know dimensional information about the cable, the overall length, does it have any breakouts? We'd want to know what the wire spec or wire size requirements are. And additionally, is there a bill of materials or any components that we're going to be assembling with the cable assembly?

Question: We've bought cables from you and paid a tariff. What happens if the tariff goes away?

Answer: What we do at Epec is clearly identify on all of our quotations the potential tariff cost. And this is typically noted as a percent that applies to the production hardware only. It does not apply to the NRE for tooling or any of the engineering costs for labor, let's say. So, obviously with the political landscape coming up in the next few years, this may be something that is changed. But to answer the question, if the tariff goes away, we would just simply remove that percentage noted on the quote, and it would not be applicable to your order. What's important though is the tariff is applicable upon shipment. If product is already here and has already been received at Epec in our stocking warehouse, here in the United States that tariff is still applicable. That tariff is incurred upon receipt from outside the U.S. into the U.S.

Topics: Cable Assemblies

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